Blogger accused of implying that courts are biased against cases touching on gay issues

Blogger, Alex Au (centre), from Yawning Bread arrives at the Supreme Court on the morning of Oct 21, with his entourage. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
Blogger, Alex Au (centre), from Yawning Bread arrives at the Supreme Court on the morning of Oct 21, with his entourage. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - The Attorney-General on Tuesday accused blogger Alex Au of conveying to readers of his blog that there is a "systemic bias" within the judiciary against cases involving the issue of homosexualiy.

Senior State Counsel Tai Wei Shyong, acting for the Attorney-General, said this as he urged the High Court to rule that Au was in contempt of court in relation to two articles published on his blog, Yawning Bread, in October last year.

The first article referred to two separate challenges to the constitutionality of Section 377A in the Penal Code, which criminalises sex acts between men.

The state counsel alleged that Mr Au's article insinuated a sinister plan by the Supreme Court to manipulate hearing dates so that Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon would preside on the panel of judges to determine the constitutionality of Section 377A.

The second article referred to legal proceedings brought by a former employee of department store Robinsons who claimed that he was harassed into resigning because he is gay.

The state counsel alleged that this article - in which Au said the judiciary was "as limp as a flag on a windless day" - insinuated that the courts decide cases based on extraneous considerations.

The state counsel said people in Singapore are free to express their views on the judiciary but Au's articles "crossed the line" and pose a real risk of undermining public confidence in the administration of justice.

But Au's lawyer, Mr Choo Zheng Xi, dealing with the first article, argued that all his client said was that CJ Menon was interested in hearing the case because it was important. Nowhere did Au suggest that the chief justice was partial or had a vested interest in the outcome, said Mr Choo.

A three-day hearing has been scheduled for the case.